To benefit from a good mentor you need to be a good mentee. I have been on both sides simultaneously and want to share what I think you should do to take the best from your mentor. In India we already know how to be a good shishya to a good guru.
1. Take the load: Be selfish and take the lead role in this relationship. You need to call, write, set meetings, make efforts and move your calendar to spend time with your mentor. Take full care that you make it easy
for your mentor to spend time with you. It shouldn’t be your mentor’s responsibility to meet you at all.
2. Have more than one mentor: Let your mentor know that you have other mentors and do discuss cross advice; mentors learn from this too and will feel less burdened. It feels like responsibility shared.
3. Be serious about the advice: If a mentor advises you on a plan of action, follow it. Don’t ask for advice if you are not going to follow it. If you disagree or cannot do something, discuss it with your mentor. Try to stick to every piece of advice. Mentors value this much more than anything else.
4. Look out for your mentor: It is but natural that you should follow what your mentor is working on and facing up to. Keep a look out for how you can help in any way. It could be finding interesting things for him to read, or some film that you think he should see, or news that you think is relevant. Maintain the connection.
5. Credit your mentor: It would be payback enough to acknowledge your mentor publicly and formally in the work you do. Mentors feel rewarded and will take care of you.
I should now write about how to find a mentor…soon!
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief